Home Preparedness Who Is Responsible for Leading Your Company’s Continuity Planning?

Who Is Responsible for Leading Your Company’s Continuity Planning?


By Randall Hanifen
Contributor, EDM Digest

As a small to mid-size business owner, you are likely to need someone to help guide the development and implementation of your company’s continuity plan in the event of a disaster.

A business continuity plan includes determining your company’s susceptibility to certain types of disasters, insurance coverage and data security. This broad scope makes it imperative that you hire someone who collaborates with others and has a solid background in emergency and disaster recovery.

Many business owners assume that if they can access their documents and have a backup of their files, they have business continuity. In some cases, that might be true. If you were a psychologist who only provided consultations on the suitability of prospective employees, data recovery might be the only requirement. But other types of businesses would have more complex continuity needs.

When Hiring, Seek Experience But Don’t Expect Someone to Know Everything

If your prospective continuity planner tells you that he knows every aspect of your business right away, you should be wary of him. For example, if you own a chemical or pharmaceutical company, your continuity plan would be complex. You would need an extensive analysis that ranges from understanding hazardous chemicals and their behavior down to supply chains and specialty equipment replacement.

Beyond seeking an adviser with an academic background related to business continuity, you should first look for someone who has experience preferably in emergency management or emergency services. You want someone who can turn template plans and programs into a successful operation.

Second, when you test and update your plan, you will have the added benefits of someone who has practical experience in enacting that type of plan. He or she can more accurately predict  what situations could arise during an emergency or disaster.

Finally, your adviser should be outstanding at soliciting input from your employees. No two businesses are identical. Each company has nuances and intricacies that must be included as part of the overall plan. Your employees will know these nuances and intricacies best and can often suggest practical solutions based on their perspectives.

As a small business owner, your decisions determine the success of your enterprise. Deciding who will be your continuity plan adviser is no different.

Be sure to take the time to investigate your best candidates. Make sure the one you choose is an effective leader and also provides the needed input based on his or her emergency and disaster management experience.

Randall Hanifen Dr. Hanifen serves as a shift commander at a medium-sized suburban fire department in the northern part of the Cincinnati area. Randall is the CEO/principal consultant of an emergency services consulting firm, providing analysis and solutions related to organizational structuring of fire and EMS organizations. He is the chairperson and operations manager for a county technical rescue team. from a state and national perspective, he serves as a taskforce leader for one of FEMA's urban search and rescue teams, which responds to presidential declared disasters. From an academic standpoint, Randall has a bachelor’s degree in fire administration, a master’s degree in executive fire service leadership, and a doctoral degree in business administration with a specialization in homeland security. He is the associate author of “Disaster Planning and Control” (Penwell, 2009), which provides first responders with guidance through all types of disasters.